Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Spooky Sunday Salon... "Books with Buzz" that will have you sleep with the lights on!

What is the Sunday Salon? Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake...

October is the month for things that go bump in the night... when we walk quickly late at night wary of the shadows that seem to follow us as we hurry along our way... October is the month of Halloween...

Halloween had its beginnings in an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of the dead. The festival observed at this time was called Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween). It was the biggest and most significant holiday of the Celtic year. The Celts believed that at the time of Samhain, more so than any other time of the year, the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living, because at Samhain the souls of those who had died during the year traveled into the otherworld. People gathered to sacrifice animals, fruits, and vegetables. They also lit bonfires in honor of the dead, to aid them on their journey, and to keep them away from the living. On that day all manner of beings were abroad: ghosts, fairies, and demons--all part of the dark and dread. Samhain became the Halloween we are all familiar with when Christian missionaries attempted to change the religious practices of the Celtic people. Now when children go out trick or treating, they dress up not as the ghosts and fairies that were originally thought to roam the night, but as pirates and princesses... maybe a zombie here and there too.

What a perfect time of year to open up a good scary book... something I use to really enjoy as a teenager! There are a few new notable books published just for the occassion...


Dracula TheUn-Dead by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt... is a bone-chilling sequel based on Bram Stoker's own handwritten notes for characters and plot threads excised from the original edition. Written with the blessing and cooperation of Stoker family members, Dracula The Un-Dead begins in 1912, twenty-five years after Dracula "crumbled into dust." Van Helsing's protégé, Dr. Jack Seward, is now a disgraced morphine addict obsessed with stamping out evil across Europe. Meanwhile, an unknowing Quincey Harker, the grown son of Jonathan and Mina, leaves law school for the London stage, only to stumble upon the troubled production of "Dracula," directed and produced by Bram Stoker himself. The play plunges Quincey into the world of his parents' terrible secrets, but before he can confront them he experiences evil in a way he had never imagined. One by one, the band of heroes that defeated Dracula a quarter-century ago is being hunted down. Could it be that Dracula somehow survived their attack and is seeking revenge? Or is their another force at work whose relentless purpose is to destroy anything and anyone associated with Dracula? Interestingly co-author Ian Holt was a Dracula fan since his childhood, doing extensive research, lecturing on and writing scholarly papers on the historic Prince Dracula. When he decided he wanted to write this book, he "wanted a Stoker involved" and approached Dacre Stoker, the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker, who wrote the original Dracula. Even though this was Dacre's first novel, he did take part in writing the novel, not just a figurehead to sell the book. Just published this past week, it is now available at your bookstore and is Kindle Ready!

House of Reckoning by John Saul... For more than three decades John Saul has haunted and readers'imaginations with his chilling tales of psychological suspense and supernatural horror. His instinct for striking the deepest chords of fear in the hearts and minds of readers is unerring. In House of Reckoning after the untimely death of her mother while she is still in her early teens, Sarah Crane is forced to grow up quickly-in order to help tend her family's Vermont farm and look after her grieving father, who's drowning his sorrow in alcohol. But their quiet life together is shattered when her father is jailed for killing another man in a barroom brawl, and injuring Sarah in a drunken car crash. Left in the cold care of a loveless foster family and alienated at school, Sarah finds a kindred spirit in classmate Nick Dunnigan, a former mental patient still plagued by voices and visions. And in eccentric art instructor Bettina Phillips, she finds a mentor eager to nurture her talent for painting. But within the walls of Bettina's ancestral home, the mansion called Shutters, Sarah finds something altogether different and disturbing. Monstrous images from the house's dark history seem to flow unbidden from her paintbrush-images echoed by Nick's chilling hallucinations. Trapped for ages in the shadowy rooms of Shutters, the violence and fury of long-dead generations has finally found a gateway from the grave into the world of the living. And Sarah and Nick have found a power they never had: to take control, and take revenge. This book was also just released this past week and it is also Kindle Ready!

Now a couple oldies, but goodies... books that will have you keep the lights long into the night...

Salem's Lot by Stephen King... Salem's Lot is a small New England town with white clapboard houses, tree-lined streets, and solid church steeples. That summer in 'salem's Lot was a summer of homecoming and return; spring burned out and the land lying dry, crackling underfoot. Late that summer, Ben Mears returned to 'salem's Lot hoping to cast out his own devils and found instead a new, unspeakable horror. A stranger had also come to the Lot, a stranger with a secret as old as evil, a secret that would wreak irreparable harm on those he touched and in turn on those they loved. All would be changed forever: Susan, whose love for Ben could not protect her; Father Callahan, the bad priest who put his eroded faith to one last test; and Mark, a young boy who sees his fantasy world become reality and ironically proves the best equipped to handle the relentless nightmare of 'Salem's Lot. A novel, almost hypnotic in its unyielding suspense, which builds to a climax of classic terror... A classic vampire novel... And Kindle Ready!

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson... The classic supernatural thriller by an author who helped define the genre. First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a "haunting"; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own. I have yet to read the book, but I love both of the movies based on this book! And look forward to reading the book to see if I'm just as scared! Unfortunately, this book is not available for either the Kindle or Sony eReader! (yet!?)

Some other books that come to mind that I read many years ago are The Shining by Stephen King and The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (which I read on the beach one summer and was scared!)... What's the scariest book you ever read? What authors do you enjoy in this genre? Share some of your favorites and we'll keep the lights on for you..

Happy reading... Suzanne

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I avoid Halloween, the not so undead, and Stephen King. I prefer villains I can see. Happy reading, tho.

debnance said...

I love to read any kind of book...except horror.

I love Halloween, too...except the scary parts.

Just a bit of a 'fraidy cat, I guess.

Suzanne said...

Hi Anonymous... I avoid Stephen King myself now, but in the old days I did enjoy his scary tales! :D

Hi Deb!
I like horror that's more psychological scary and not gory scary... but for some reason I just love to jump out of my seat.. except on rollercoasters, which I avoid at all costs! :D

stpand said...

For a different take on the Dracula legend try "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova.

Suzanne said...

Thanks stpand for adding The Historian.. I actually just received that book to review and can't wait!

ladystorm said...

All excellent choices for Halloween. I would love reading the Dracula one myself I am trying to win it off a blog but will probably buy it. I have the Historian I got it off of Paperback Swap but haven't had a chance to review it.

Love Steven King..LOL I do prefer scary to gory but it depends on my mood..lol

Louise said...

Suzanne, how funny you should mention reading The Exorcist on the beach and Salems Lot in the same post. I re-read Salems Lot on the beach some years ago, and was so chilled that I haven't had the nerve to read it yet again. The first time I read it was when I first started reading in English, and much had escaped me in that first reading. But the second reading...man, I was scared.

That House of Reckoning sounds like a chilling read I would definitely be interested in.

Dar said...

I love Halloween and scary books. I've got to pick up John Saul's new one. I'm so behind on my reading lately. Salem's Lot I loved but you know that's always been a book that's freaked me out; so has the movie.

Have a great Sunday!

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Love this post! Your opening paragraph's description of the Sunday Salon is excellent.I've got the new Dracula book, but haven't read it yet. Thanks for the scary recommendations.

Katy said...

Spooky! I'm a big scaredy cat when it comes to horror in movies, but I'm a little less of a baby about books. LOL I'm not much of a horror reader anymore, but I used to read a bit when I was younger.

I have an award for your blog here: http://fewmorepages.blogspot.com/2009/10/superior-scribbler-award.html

gnoegnoe said...

The Shining, is that the story with the ghostly telly? I read that as a young teenager and it completely freaked me out! Definitely the most scary thing I've read ;)

I'll have to think of some recommendations (for those of you who don't find the scariest read a recommendation in itself ;)

Kristen said...

I avoid all scary books since I am troub led by nightmares but when I was younger, the most terrifying book I ever read (and it was psychological terror in spades) was The Other by Thomas Tryon. Scared the bejeepers out of me.

Wendy said...

Great list of scary books...nobody does scary better than Stephen King (in my opinion) and Salems Lot is one of his best!!

Heidi V said...

I haven't read a John Saul book in awhile but you know in the winter I love a good thriller.

Thanks for the recommendations!

Lisa said...

Great list! King and Jackson alone are enough scare for me in one month!

my read shelf:
Suzanne's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Book & Blogs

Visit the Place Bloggers Talk...

New Feature! Follow Me!

giveaway over